What does that mean, Where Women Move The Action?

In Chicago, I worked with a women’s theatre company called Footsteps, who were known for their all-female productions of Shakespeare’s plays.  The first time I played a male role (Buckingham in Richard III), I was amazed at how differently it felt from any of my previous roles.  I had played some amazing female characters in my time, but with this role, I noticed that I was one of the agents by which the plot was propelled forward.  My character made things happen, rather than reacted to the events of the plot as they unfolded.  I was able to experience the feeling of moving the action forward.

So many of the female characters that are written today, even leading roles, are still put into situations where they have little to no control, and can only react to their circumstances.  How they react becomes the journey those characters take.  But actresses rarely get the experience, and audiences rarely get to vicariously enjoy, women that are responsible for making things happen, whose actions propel the plot forward, set events in motion.

Stories tell us who we are, and who we can be.  We look to stories to find ourselves, and nowadays half the world can’t find themselves in anything they see in the media around them, or only see themselves presented as half-characters, with no agency of their own, only present to shore up the male hero’s journey.  Marginalizing women in the stories we tell, the movies we make, is a political act that makes trivial an entire gender.  Putting women front and center is also a political act, one that seeks to counterbalance the damage that has been done, and continues to be done, to women’s spirits.

Vicarious Films creates, facilitates and seeks out projects that give women active rather than passive roles in the circumstances of their lives, that makes them the agents of change.  Not only do our projects require well-written, complex, three-dimensional female characters, but we require scripts that put them at the helm.  Scripts in which women move the action.

-Dawn Alden, Owner
Vicarious Films